I could have done a better job of explaining the "coupon".
Actually, I had donated to a fundraiser and it was part of a silent auction. It was a certificate, now that I think about it; that entitled the bearer to one free service provided by our company.
But, as I described, the coupon had expired on the very day she called. That being said... here's the deal.
Let's say you called me up, and you said something to the effect of:
"Entrepreneur Chick, I am just so upset! My car's always breaking down, I don't know what's wrong with it, it's been in the shop three times now. Also, my kids keep leaving huge messes all over the house; I've asked them repeatedly NOT to eat in the family room and now there's pizza stains on the carpet and peanut butter and jelly droppings on the sofa. And my husband! He doesn't do anything to help out around here! You should see this laundry!"
I'd listen, and then when she's good and finished I'd say:
"So. You feel frustrated?"
"That's IT! I feel frustrated!"
It's kinda crazy that when I mirror back some one's feelings, more often than not, you'd think I was some sort of powerful mind reader. Because they all say, "That's IT!," amazed I understand so perfectly.
I try to listen to not only what people are saying, but the underlying emotion behind the words.
Applying that to our "certificate bearer" who said, "There's been a death in the family, could you extend the coupon?" This is what I heard she was saying,:
"I want to use guilt to manipulate you to do it my way. I want you to feel sorry for me so you will do it my way." ("Even though I've had half a year to call you up.")
Entrepreneur Chick does not respond well to guilt. You're going to have a hard time "guilting" me into anything, or "shaming" me into anything.
Additionally, a contract is a contract. And an expiration date is an expiration date. It ain't personal, it's business. Trying to make it personal tells me you don't understand much about business.
No, I didn't honor it and I didn't call her back. I think she gets my drift.